A Tiny, Tony Tuneup

Monaco's Newest Land Expansion Project has a Heightened Focus on the Environment

The world's most expensive residential real estate market is adding new listings. A privately financed US$2.4 billion land extension project is underway to expand Monaco's coastline 15 acres (6 hectares) into the Mediterranean Sea to accommodate more residents. The Portier Cove project, slated to be complete in 2025, will include 120 luxury apartments and 10 villas, a landscaped park, a marina, a promenade, a small port, and new boutiques and shops.

Land expansion already accounts for 20 percent of the country's territory, and the new project will add 3 percent. But, unlike past projects, Portier Cove is placing an emphasis on environmentally friendly construction methods. “We aren't arrogant enough to say that the development will have no affect on the environment,” Jean-Luc Nguyen, Monaco's director of public works, which is overseeing the project, told the Riviera Insider. “But we will be doing everything we can to limit this.”

—Jean-Luc Nguyen, Monaco Department of Public Works, to the Riviera Insider

The development, being built by French construction company Bouygues Travaux Publics, was designed to fit snugly with the coastline, mimicking its shape as much as possible. If it jutted into the water, the project might interrupt the flow of water currents. And before dredging began in 2017, protected plant species were relocated to marine reserves.


Rendering of the Portier Cove project in Monaco


These types of projects also now have to consider climate change effects more than ever, in particular sea-level rise, more frequent and intense storm surges, and intense rainfall followed by intermittent periods of drought. As protection against sea swells, the Portier Cove project will include a belt of concrete-reinforced caissons that also will act as an artificial reef. But they too will have an eco-friendly design. The caissons will be partially fitted with concrete panels that have a pH of eight or nine (as opposed to the usual pH of 13) to encourage marine life to colonize the walls. Other artificial habitats will be added to the top and base of the caissons.

“We traveled around the world to find out about innovative construction techniques, and we haven't found anywhere that will bring together the same level of environmental awareness as here,” Mr. Nguyen says.—Kate Rockwood



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